Homefront: ‘Can I report a real estate manager for harassing me for deciding not to buy a property?’

The Dubai resident signed the booking form and handed over post-dated cheques but did not go ahead with the deal

Close-up of woman holding house key in new home. Getty Images
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I intended to buy a property in Dubai. After a few viewings of an off-plan property, which was almost ready to be handed over, I visited the broker’s office and signed the booking form – not the sales and purchase agreement – and gave them two post-dated cheques.

Since I had yet to decide whether to buy the property, the agent I dealt with said I could rescind the booking form if I changed my mind the next day. He promised to return my cheques, with no questions asked.

While leaving the broker’s office, the agent’s manager called me and asked if I could change the date on one of the cheques by a few weeks and offered me a further discount for doing so.

I said that I would discuss the matter with his agent the next day. The agent mailed me a digital copy of the amended form with the new discounted price, and we decided to meet in the evening to finalise my decision.

However, after discussing the matter with my family, I decided not to continue with the purchase. I informed the agent of my decision in the evening and he returned the original booking form that I signed (the developer had not) along with the voided cheques. I shredded the cheques and the booking form the next day.

In the evening, his manager called me in an intimidating tone and said I did not have the right to cancel the booking form. He asked me to return the original signed form. When I told him I no longer had it, he demanded that I sign a letter of undertaking that I shredded the documents.

He wants me to give in writing the reasons why I no longer want to purchase the property. The manager added that the developer will ban me from purchasing a property from them. He claimed that while holding the unit in my name for a day, they lost a client who was willing to purchase the property.

What can I do if the manager keeps harassing me to write this letter? What are my options? Can I report him to the Real Estate Regulatory Agency or the police? KT, Dubai

Your situation appears to be a little unusual, in that the manager’s actions seem to be driven by something that has not been disclosed.

Any future communication with him needs to be focused on what his agent confirmed to you.

Remember to mention that the same agent returned the original booking form along with the voided cheques, confirming that you acted in the right manner.

What might be at stake here is the relationship between the broker and the developer. Clients are entitled to change their minds and if any cancellation is allowed without the loss of deposit, that is where it should end.

No developer blacklists a client just because someone doesn't complete a booking

If the manager insists on receiving your reason for cancellation in writing, inform him that his harassment is not welcome and if it continues, you will report him to the regulator.

No developer acts in the way the manager is describing. They do not blacklist any client because someone has not completed a booking. I think this threat is only driven by this manager.

After you deliver this message, hopefully he will leave you alone.

Mario Volpi is the sales and leasing manager at Engel & Volkers. He has worked in the property sector for more than 35 years in London and Dubai. The opinions expressed do not constitute legal advice and are provided for information only. Please send any questions to mario.volpi@engelvoelkers.com